Trends from KBIS 2013

As a designer I always feel it is a bit of a slippery slope when I talk about design trends. So many things affect trends like locale, economy and even climate. Having just returned from the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in New Orleans, USA with an absolute flurry of events, presentations to make, and the parties, I found it a great challenge to see much of the show, yet what I did find was subtle and interesting.

Corey Photo


1. WOOD GRAIN – Textured melamine, walnut, and hand-scraped woods have picked up all over the place. Nothing is more relaxing than the strong naturalistic pattern of wood. Richelieu launched some textured wood-grain plywood, like the new Borke Linear or Mosaic, which are indeed interesting and have that West Coast/Asian infused vibe that I often search for.


Photos courtesy or Richelieu

Photos courtesy or Richelieu



2. MIXING GREY – I am sorry to admit that most of my wardrobe is grey, but I think we are on the verge of colour. Economy and insecurity has a huge affect on our design outcomes, and grey has been around for a few years now because it is safe. I think we are finally seeing how it can be used well. By mixing grey with white, strong wood tones, even an animal print and a pop of colour can shift our focus from the dreary grey to it’s use as a backbone to the design vision instead.


3. FOCUS ON FUNCTION – The biggest kitchen centre where function is back in a big way is at the sink (the clean-up and preparation centre.).  We are shifting back to a farm-to-table aesthetic and we need to be able to properly and safely prepare our fresh vegetables, cheese, or organic poultry without compromising beauty. I, myself, am a little partial to the Modex sink right now. It combines the unique properties of an architectural feature, high function, virtually indestructible material, and multi-activity zone that needs to perform.



4. UNIVERSAL ACCESSORIES – I have been designing kitchens for a while now so I think I can shove my weight around a bit with my opinion. Accessories in the kitchen must be accounted for at all levels of the design process. We (I speak the royal we here) need to impress upon the users of the kitchens we design for that recycle centres, organic storage, cutlery trays that work, knife blocks, and even tray dividers are standard requirements for the long life of the kitchen.


There are far more “trends” and insights from New Orleans than I can bring to mention and it is important that we need to remain open to all the options because this serves as only a small sampling of the highlights.

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